Ruggedised phones often look cheap but Samsung has given this one an almost classy finish.
Simple to access menus and chunky easy-to-use rubberised buttons means the basics are well-covered.
No 3G, wi-fi or GPS, but at least there's an extra microphone for noise cancellation, and even a torch. Plus dust, water and shock resistance.
A simple phone that performs its specific tough tasks well.
The lack of advanced, energy-draining features means the Solid has decent battery life, unless you have the torch on non-stop, of course.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:59:29 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Excellent shock, water and dust resistance. Funky features. Okay styling.
Lacks features many more basic non-ruggedised phones have, like 3G.
Just how clumsy are you? If you're on your third iPhone having smacked a couple of screens too hard, consider a ruggedised phone and some hand-eye co-ordination lessons.
Ah, the ruggedised phone: strong enough to be dropped on the ground, able to survive a fall into a mug of builder's tea. The Solid Extreme is a classic of the genre: rubberised case to protect it, bright red edging to make it easy to find, off-the-wall features and a small, low-resolution screen (1.77ins) hidden behind a protective plastic lens.
There's a big loop in the top of the phone so you can attach it to a thick lanyard, and a lock on the back which you have to open with a coin, to keep the precious innards safe from moisture. The phone claims to be waterproof to depths of 1 metre for up to half an hour. In our tests, it lay happily at the bottom of a bowl of water, its screen shining brightly and with nary a bubble of air coming from it to suggest water was getting in.And that rubberised coating is an anti-shock design. While the thought of standing on scaffolding and shouting sexist comments at passers by was considered (and no, of course builders aren't like that any more, are they?) we opted for testing the Solid by dropping it out of a first floor window onto tarmac. Although this was slightly alarming to do, it survived effortlessly. Even the scuff marks came off, leaving just one tiny graze on the rubberised edge and a tiny scratch on the plastic display. Hardly noticeable, and it continued to work perfectly.
As for surprising functions, ruggedised phones have always had these. Sadly the compass Nokia's tough phones used to sport isn't here, but there's a torch at least. The LED sits on the top edge of the handset and a long press on the dedicated side button switches it on. It stays on continuously, though remember it will drain power a little.
The small display is only 120x160 pixels and doesn't exactly look impressive. But this isn't a multimedia phone. Heck, it's not even 3G. That's not the point here, and Samsung knows it. So the basic screen, and at least it's colour, shows the time in big numbers, which is handy. The charger and headphones plug into the same proprietary socket, but the phone does have Bluetooth, so you can connect wireless headphones if you want to listen to your music (though Health and Safety may object to this while you're on a building site, you know). And it's even geared to music playback because it's got expandable memory, plus an FM radio. You shouldn't expect the latest phone operating system, mind. Although it has a voice recorder, basic image editor, stopwatch and games, not to mention a 1.3-megapixel camera. Plus, there's a noise cancellation feature which seems effective and very handy if you're in a noisy environment.The central button on the navigation pad defaults to launching the browser, and it's not easy to change this, so make sure you set the keypad to lock so you're not inadvertently racking up data connection charges when the phone's in your pocket.
This is not a sophisticated handset that you'll want to show off to your mates. But if you need something resilient to protect it from your environment (or from yourself), it's a capable and efficient, even likeable phone.